Coast Guard DIG sacked over Pak boat row
The DIG of the Indian Coast Guard, BK Loshali, has been dismissed from service over contradictory remarks regarding the incident with a Pakistani boat off the coast of Gujarat last year. Defence Ministry sources he was dismissed by a five-member General Court-Martial in Mumbai. Loshali can now request the Coast Guard DG for a judicial review of the decision and the punishment.
Pak boat blows up off Gujarat coast
A Pakistani boat exploded off the coast of Gujarat in the early hours of Jan 1 when it was intercepted by Indian Coast Guard vessels. A Defence Ministry statement said Coast Guard ships and choppers intercepted the suspicious Pakistani fishing vessel about 365 kilometres off the Porbander coast. The four crew members allegedly set the boat on fire upon seeing the Coast Guards intervene.
NTRO provided intelligence to Navy, CG about boat
Sources had confirmed that the National Technical Research Organization tracked the Pakistani boat and intercepted its communications from the moment it left Keti Bunder near Karachi. The communications intercepts indicated that the boat was in touch with Pakistan and was discussing some high value transaction. According to reports, the Navy did not react to the intelligence inputs by the NTRO.
Parrikar: Possible terror link to Pak boat
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stated that there may be possible terrorism angle to the mysterious boat that blew itself up off the Gujarat coast. Dismissing claims that the occupants of boat were smugglers, the Minister said he would classify them as "suspected or possible terrorists". He stated that the boat was in constant touch with Pakistan and that details would be released soon.
Coast guards say debris, bodies not recovered
Coast guard officials stated that due to the depth of the sea in the area where the boat was intercepted, it was impossible to retrieve the debris of the boat. They added that a 100 sq km area was scanned and that the bodies of the four crew members were not traceable. Officials said they tracked the boat for 18 hours before intercepting it.
Navy dismisses reports on inaction over Pak boat
The Navy issued a statement saying that it was kept in the loop throughout the encounter with the Pakistani boat off the coast of Gujarat. They added that the Navy "responded appropriately" along with the Coast Guard upon receiving the intelligence inputs from the NTRO. Clarifying their authority, the Navy said they are "the nodal agency for the overall maritime security of the nation."
Coast Guard DIG claims he authorised destroying boat
In direct contradiction of the government's stance on the Pakistani boat issue, the DIG of the Coast Guard, BK Loshali stated that he ordered the Coast Guard to destroy the Pakistani boat. Intelligence and Navy sources say that evidence suggested that there was a "disproportionate" use of force by the Coast Guard. MoD officials have withheld their comments on Loshali's statement.
Violation of international law?
If the Coast Guard had indeed blown up the Pakistani boat, then India would be in violation of international law which allows use of force in international waters only in self defence.
Loshali served showcause notice for Pak boat comments
The Coast Guard issued a showcause notice to its DIG BK Loshali, asking him to explain his comments on the Pakistani fishing boat controversy. The notice was issued after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stated that his ministry would look into the comments made by Loshali. Parrikar maintained the government's official statement that the boat was a suspected terrorist vessel that blew itself up.
Coast Guard DIG removed from post
BK Loshali, who was under fire for contradictory comments over the Pakistani boat controversy, has been relieved of his duties as Chief of Staff at Northwest region. He has now been attached to the zonal headquarters as a Board of Inquiry investigation has begun, to clarify the statements he made. He is expected to be court martialed in September once the inquiry is completed.